White Sox manager Pedro Grifol has confidence in Gavin Sheets playing the outfield

And the converted first baseman came through with a nice running catch and a three-run homer.

SHARE White Sox manager Pedro Grifol has confidence in Gavin Sheets playing the outfield
The White Sox’s Gavin Sheets celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Orioles on Sunday.

The White Sox’s Gavin Sheets celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Orioles on Sunday.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol believes Gavin Sheets is a victim of defensive circumstances, and he demonstrated his faith in him by starting him Sunday in left field, four days after he took a tumble while trying to catch a deep fly by Ryan Jeffers in Minnesota.

“I have complete confidence in him playing the outfield,” Grifol said. “I’ve seen that happen over and over and over again in the major leagues. It’s just one play. It doesn’t define who he is as a defensive player, and it definitely doesn’t define what he brings to us as a player in general.”

Sheets validated Grifol’s declaration by making a long running catch of Adley Rutschman’s drive across the left-field foul line in the first inning, then hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning.

Sheets didn’t play the outfield until the 2021 season at Triple-A Charlotte after playing first base at Wake Forest and the minors.

“To be honest with you, I think he wears more of it because there were some guys out of position last year, and the team wore it, right?” said Grifol, who was a coach with the Royals for 10 previous seasons. “And the organization wore it. And maybe that’s what’s a part of it. I don’t know. I don’t know what people think.

“I know what we evaluate and what we see and the work we see being done.”

Catching a solution

Offseason surgery and subsequent rehabilitation have helped catcher Yasmani Grandal’s defense. He threw out the Orioles’ Jorge Mateo on a steal attempt on his left knee to complete a double play in the sixth inning of the Sox’ victory Saturday.

“I’m definitely moving way better,” Grandal said. “My blocking is definitely improved. My throws down to second have definitely improved. The receiving is improved. I started off on a good note, so hopefully I can start building off of that.”

Grandal believes more teams are making a collective effort to thwart base-stealers, an ominous task because of the limits on pickoff throws to first base and a slight increase in the size of the bases.

This and that

Pitcher Dylan Cease moved his PitchCom gadget to his belt in the second inning because the device wouldn’t stick to his glove.

† Infielder Hanser Alberto went on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Saturday, with a strained left quad. The contract of outfielder Adam Haseley was purchased from Charlotte, and infielder/outfielder Nick Solak was designated for assignment.

† Rain delayed the start of the game Sunday for 2 hours, 22 minutes.

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